Liberty hit a season-best .457 in a resounding 3-0 (25-20, 25-21, 25-11) sweep of 4th-seeded UNC Asheville in the quarterfinal round of the 2017 Big South Volleyball Championship, Friday at the Dedmon Center.
Liberty (12-18) advances to face No. 1 seed High Point in tomorrow's first semifinal at 4:30 p.m. The Bulldogs' season ends at 13-15. The Lady Flames are 8-3 all-time in conference tournament action against UNC Asheville. Friday's win was Liberty's first Big South tournament match win since the 2013 quarterfinal, also against UNC Asheville.
For the match, Liberty outhit UNC Asheville, .457-.243. The Lady Flames' .457 hitting percentage was its highest ever in a Big South tournament match. Liberty also led 47-26 in digs, 51-37 in kills, 5-3 in aces and 4-2 in blocks.
Gabrielle Vess scored 13 kills at a .500 pace to lead the Lady Flames, while Jenna Culhan registered 11 kills, two aces and three blocks. Casey Goodwin sent down 11 kills, while Margaret Latchford collected a match-high 13 digs, and Amaya Williams dished out a match-best 31 assists.
Cara Guthrie scored a team-high 13 kills for UNC Asheville, while Kailey Hackett led the team with 17 assists, and Madisen Zyburt collected nine digs.
Liberty led for a majority of set one, taking an 18-15 lead on Vorster's kill. The Bulldogs answered with three points to tie it at 18-18. Vorster scored two kills and assisted on a block, as the Flames surged ahead, 22-18. Venema then scored back-to-back kills, drawing Asheville to within 22-20. Liberty closed the setting by taking the final three points, with Vorster's ace sealing the 25-20 win.
During set one, Liberty outhit UNC Asheville, .387-.235. Vess led all players with five first-set kills.
UNC Asheville held an 18-16 set-two lead before Liberty made its charge. Goodwin and Vorster sent down kills, and then Hannah Morris served up an ace, making it 19-18, Lady Flames. The Bulldogs tied the score at 19-all and again at 20-20 before Liberty outscored them, 5-1, to win the second set, 25-21.
Set two saw Liberty hit .400, compared to .262 for the Bulldogs. Culhan sent down six second-set kills, while Asheville's Guthrie scored a set-best eight kills.
The Lady Flames put the match away with a dominant third set, siding out at 100 percent while hitting .586 in a 25-11 victory. Gabrielle Vess scored six kills to lead all players.
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